HIGDON An Exaltation of Larks. Scenes from the Poet's Dreams. Light Refracted

The Lark play quartets by the Philadelphia composer

Author: 
Richard Whitehouse
BRIDGE9379. HIGDON An Exaltation of Larks. Scenes from the Poet's Dreams. Light Refracted. Lark QuartetHIGDON An Exaltation of Larks. Scenes from the Poet's Dreams. Light Refracted

HIGDON An Exaltation of Larks. Scenes from the Poet's Dreams. Light Refracted

  • An Exaltation of Larks (String Quartet)
  • Scenes from the Poet's Dream (String quintet)
  • Light Refracted

In terms of her profile in the UK, Jennifer Higdon is best known for such high-octane pieces as the Percussion Concerto which has become a favourite with younger soloists. The present disc focuses on the more inward – though not thereby introspective – side of her thinking, with three pieces either written for or championed by the Lark Quartet. Of these, An Exaltation of Larks (2005) is all about integration – drawing its several gently contrasting sections into a continuous span whose dextrously contrapuntal textures and underlying ‘ecstatic lyricism’ recall the early music of Tippett in manner if not in substance. Light Refracted (2002) adopts a different strategy in which the image of the title is conveyed by two distinct movements: the ‘Inward’ process characterised by ruminative and eloquently sustained music, the ‘Outward’ process represented by compact and vigorous music that does not so much balance as cancel out its predecessor.

Arguably the finest piece is Scenes from the Poet’s Dreams (1999), in which the notional ‘dreamer’ of the title (who may or may not be embodied by the piano) moves from a deftly agile prelude, via a leisurely evocative intermezzo and vividly onomatopoeic scherzo, to a cumulatively expressive nocturne and an energetically assertive rondo. This is evocative and engaging music, with some deft left-hand pianism from Gary Graffman and a dedicated response from the Lark. It sets the seal on a disc which, with its spacious sound as well as pertinent booklet-notes, finds Higdon at her most resourceful.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018